Fentanyl free flow into US: DEA agents tasked with combating Mexican drug cartels having their work visas delayed up to eight months

EL PASO, TX - A recently published article from Border Report indicates that Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents who are tasked with combating Mexican drug cartels sending fentanyl by the ton to the United States are waiting up to nearly eight months to get their work visas.

According to KDVR, this revelation happened during a House appropriations subcommittee hearing in Washington, D.C., prompting members to question Mexico's commitment to stop the continuous flow of fentanyl, a drug that has been the culprit of close to 70,0000 American deaths in 2023.

U.S. Rep. Hal Rodgers (R-KY) said in a statement, "When the DEA encounters obstacles such as difficulties in obtaining visas in a timely manner to operate in Mexico and there are outstanding warrants the Mexican government fails to act upon, it suggests the state of our relationship with Mexico may be far from ideal."

U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-PA) added, "This is where the rubber hits the road when we talk about the distribution of fentanyl into this country. It's coming from China, it's going to Mexico, it's coming here and it's killing our kids. Mexico is delaying work visas to American DEA agents working in Mexico to get after the Sinaloa and Jalisco cartels."

DEA Administrator Anne Milgram confirmed to subcommittee members that 13 agents and intelligence analysts assigned to track the two transnational criminal organizations the agency has identified as the main exporters of fentanyl to the United States are still waiting for an all clear from Mexico to enter the country.

Milgram said, "We are committed to working shoulder-to-shoulder with anyone across the globe who will work with DEA in partnership on this fight. I thought (FBI) director (Christopher) Wray said very well when he said the cooperation has been uneven, that we need to do much more and I would echo that. We are waiting for those 13 visas; I believe one has been pending for eight months. Unfortunately, we know the price that we pay as a country when we wait that long."

There are DEA agents assigned to many countries across the world, but Mexico is a key player in steering the flow of fentanyl as well as other illicit substances like heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine, and marijuana. 

At the hearing, Rodgers said, "This lack of engagement, the nonsensical bureaucratic delay in approving visas and blatantly ignoring extradition requests for cartel members should be far from pleasing for anyone who cares about our efforts to counter the cartels." Subcommittee member U.S. Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-TX) pressed the DEA about its commitment to expand state and local law enforcement partnerships to combat fentanyl trafficking and distribution.

At the hearing on Tuesday, May 7th, Milgram reinforced her commitment to local drug task forces, saying that the federal government is bringing a new, next-generation multi-agency task force to the southern border to help combat the cartels. The new task force, dubbed Trident Directorate, will operate out of El Paso, Texas, and New York City, New York. Its main priority will be to combat fentanyl. 

Milgram told the committee, "As we stand up to these Trident teams — one is being stood up along the border — we are going to use our El Paso office because we have great capacity there, and one is going to be set up in New York. These will be state, local, federal teams that also have the intelligence community and the defense community. That is one of the examples of evolving to the next step where we will be able to use every piece of information the DEA has to target this international threat."

Milgram provided a document to the subcommittee that states Trident members will engage in data-mapping and information sharing with multiple U.S. law enforcement agencies, the military, and the intelligence community. 
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